The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Hodeiby: Your best friend hates you

Your best friend hates you: prolific Muslim Brother Ibrahim Houdeiby's latest article, perhaps his best one yet, on Egypt's promotion of anti-Americanism and how it relates to the "engage the MB" debate. He concludes with an interesting argument:

In the era of “neo-terrorism,” or micro-terrorist groups, this increasing hostility only means a threat to American national security. With the rapid boom in technology and communication, it takes no more than a connection to the Internet and a few dollars to develop a bomb and threaten the security and lives of innocents anywhere. Therefore, relying on the strong relations with Egypt’s dictator as a substitute for building bridges of understanding with the Egyptian people is a strategic mistake.

The current and next American administrations have one of two possible alternatives. The first is to continue supporting a regime that complies with all their demands yet spreads embedded anti-Americanism on the domestic level, and suffer the possible consequences of that, which will be devastating to everyone. The second alternative is to support real democracy in Egypt, and realize that the outcome would be a government that would not necessarily serve America’s short term interests in the region. The outcome will be a government that pursues Egypt’s interests, and manifests the people’s will, yet does not fuel widespread inherent hostility towards the United States.
On the other hand, the MB is not exactly known for its pro-US rhetoric either, is it? So the message is, if you encourage democracy in Egypt, even if it will inevitably strengthen the MB (at least initially), Egypt will continue to play more or less within the limits imposed by American regional hegemony. And presumably refrain from doing things like sending soldiers to defend Lebanon from Israel. Or am I reading it wrong?